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Sarah Goulet and GQ’s Dan Riley’s Meadow Wedding on Martha’s Vineyard

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Gabriela Herman

Sarah Goulet, owner of her namesake arts communications company, and Dan Riley, the features editor at GQ and author of novel Fly Me, met on a rainy summer night at The Corner Bistro, across the street from her West Village apartment. Nearly three years of dating later, and he proposed to her on the beach below her family’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. “I was still listening to my workout playlist, when I realized he was proposing! (He had been listening to a Fresh Air episode about the Donner Party . . . )” Sarah explains. 

Since Martha’s Vineyard had always been a special place for the couple, it was an easy decision to get married there. Pilot Hill is especially sentimental as that’s where her family’s home sits on a farm with chickens, cows, sheep, and rolling meadows. “Since Dan is from Southern California and I’m from Colorado, many of our friends and family were visiting the Vineyard for the first time. We wanted them to experience the full range of the island’s bounty,” she explains.

To help plan their wedding weekend, they hired Kristen Gosselin and her team at KG Events and Design—and to bring their vision for stationery to life, they worked with Sesame Letterpress on a paper suite that set the tone for all of the events. “Each piece nods to the flora and fauna from the farm, letter-pressed in black on heavy ecru stock. We collaborated with Will Lung, a calligrapher whom I met through my work with Hermès, on the hand-lettering,” the bride explains. On floral arrangements, Krishana Collins of Tea Lane Farm worked her magic with un-manicured, romantic designs that she is known so well for. 

For her summer wedding, Sarah wanted to wear something classic and feminine— “something special that wouldn’t look out of place in a field in August,” she says. At Mark Ingram Atelier, they pulled her a newly arrived Peter Langner textured silk, A-line dress with a low-cut halter neck and open back. “It was different from any dress I’d seen—an elevated American sportswear vibe paired with this gorgeous Italian material. The pockets sealed the deal (and proved useful for holding my ‘something borrowed’: the Yeats poem that my parents had read at their wedding).” After shortening the train length to be more effortless, the gown was perfect. She paired it with her “something blue”—navy Manolo Blahnik satin pumps with a heel that wouldn’t sink in the meadow. And for beauty, Steven Fernandes created soft waves pinned back loosely with a few small white flowers. 

Dan wore a custom suit by Sid Mashburn (a GQ favorite), introduced to him by a colleague on the magazine’s fashion team. “The suit was a blue that was brighter than navy but darker than my dad’s cobalt suit (perhaps the most striking fashion statement of the wedding!),” Sarah remembers. And their only attendant, Sarah’s maid of honor and twin sister, Kaelin, wore a breezy Kalita dress.

Before the outdoor meadow ceremony, guests were greeted to Aperol spritzes and a raw bar. Then, they all found their seats on long benches situated on a sloping hill. A string quartet played Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” as the bride made her way across the field and down the aisle with her parents. Once with Dan, his childhood friend, Dan Goldstein, officiated the service with humor and heart. “In lieu of many more traditional elements, we spent most of the ceremony reading the vows we’d written. Dan’s were nearly 20 minutes (!) and put our guests through the full emotional washing machine,” Sarah says.

Immediately after the ceremony, and on the advice of friends, the two stole away a few moments together. They then rejoined everyone at the tented cocktail hour. Guests found their seats on table cards with envelopes held down by stones from the beach that Dan, the mother-of-the-bride, and Sarah gathered in the days before the wedding. A delicious family-style dinner by Kitchen Porch was served that concluded with carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting from Val Cakes, Sarah’s mom’s legendary chocolate cheesecakes, and more than 500 of Kaelin’s signature chocolate chip cookies. 

Entertainment kicked off with eight-piece, brass-heavy band The Sultans. Dan’s main priority for the reception was a live band, and they did not disappoint. “They got people out of their seats between every course and left most of the party dripping sweat by the end of the night,” the bride says. The couple had their father-daughter and mother-son dance to The Beatles’s “In My Life,” and then continued partying. “At one point the skies opened up, and it poured rain, while the band played Aretha Franklin, who had passed away a few days before—it was pretty incredible to scan a sea of joyful faces from all of the chapters of our lives.”

After the noise ordinance shut down the good times at 11:00 p.m., remaining guests piled into vans headed for Oak Bluffs to keep the night alive. The morning after, Sarahs parents hosted a low-key gathering of coffee and donuts from The Black Dog Bakery at their home. “A few guests crashed on lounge chairs on the lawn,” Sarah says. “The sign of a good night!”